Some credit card issuers may give you the option of opening a joint credit card. The key difference between being an authorized user and being a joint account holder is that you have more liability as a joint account holder than the authorized user himself.
With a joint account, you are legally responsible for paying any debts that accrue.
The process of being added to an account is also more stringent: lenders expect you to meet their requirements, just as if you were applying for a credit card on your own.
The authorized user strategy is common for parents who want to help their children build credit. If your parent has established a positive credit history, you may want to ask them to add you as an authorized user and start building a credit history.
Also, joint accounts are used by spouses who share finances. Not all credit cards and issuers allow joint card accounts.
An important thing to remember is that the primary account holder’s credit scores will not be affected by adding him or her as an authorized user, even if his or her credit history is limited.
Accounts on which you are an authorized user are likely to show up on your credit report – at least, the vast majority, credit card issuers report account activity to an authorized user’s credit reports.
Before you are added as an authorized user, you may want the primary account holder to ask your credit card issuer whether it reports authorized user accounts to the three major credit bureaus.
If the card issuer reports to the bureaus, then the account will generally appear on your credit reports within 30 to 45 days. But note that not all issuers report to all three bureaus, and if they do, the timing of when issuers report to the credit bureaus may vary.
If the primary account holder has an incredible credit history with on-time payments and such, this can have a positive impact on their credit. Also, if the account’s credit utilization rate is low, this can also be good for your credit. You can calculate your utilization rate by dividing your total credit card balances by your total credit card limits.
A wise tip is, that the primary account holder does not miss a payment on the card, otherwise their credit will be affected, as one of the strongest negative impacts that can be reflected in a person’s credit history is a late payment, this is almost the same as high credit utilization.